Life is a Mystery

28 April 2011

Remembering: Apfel Suppe

The morning of Wednesday, April 28, one year ago:

Oma’s condition has been worsening, though growing more calm, since Monday. We are now firmly on a palliative course, with a morphine patch in place, and only pain medications being administered. She is more or less out of touch, when she does speak, it is mostly in tongues. We’ve had Dagmar online and some visitors like Sigrun, Guenther, and Rosewita trying to help us translate with little success. Oma was not even interested in the very cute cat book that Rosewita brought for her.

Anna and I did have one breakthrough last night, we realized Oma was saying “apfel suppe” and I finally figured out that meant “apfel saft”. We gave her some multivitamin juice and she ate half an apple (grated)! I’ll be buying apple juice this morning for Oma.

Not that it will help much. This morning she spit up the apples and is deep asleep. She has not kept any food down for a couple days and she has been drinking very little. Her breath is sounding bubbly, though deep.

There is a growing consensus among some that Oma won’t last out the week. I would still be personally surprised if she is not alive when I leave next week, mostly because Oma has surprised me so many times already. But even so, I went to Utzi and Opa’s grave with Alex yesterday and asked them to come visiting and help Oma with her journey. Tante Trude sent a priest who administered last rights with Dagmar on the videophone. Anna is picking out clothes for Oma to wear when she dies. It feels like the last days are upon us. No predictions or guarantees, of course.

Alex and I will go for a long walk in the woods this morning. I’m going to go say goodbye to Cobenzl and the Kreuzung and Jagerwiesse and Hermanskogel for Oma. All places she has not been to in years, but which I remember visiting as a little boy with her. To these places I am sure she won’t return except in sprit, or perhaps in the form of a small grey fox like the one we saw in her garden last week, coming by, perhaps, to welcome her to the side of the angels.

0428 flowersoverhill

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Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org